Arbitron Strongly Disputes PPM Issues Raised By Hispanic Ad Group
August 21, 2008 at 10:04 AM (PT)
ARBITRON came outswinging in its reponse to ASSOCIATION OF HISPANIC ADVERTISING AGENCIES (AHAA) PPM Council's complaints that the methodology, measurement, and design of the PPM ratings system are still flawed. The only thing the two parties seem to agree upon is the belief that the transition from diary to electronic audience measurement is necessary.
"We know that electronic measurement should yield higher quality data than the diary method," AHAA PPM Council chairwoman and TAPESTRY SVP/Managing Dir. ISABELLA SÁNCHEZ said. "Now with a more precise tool, PPM, those flaws are exacerbated. Preliminary data shows enormous declines in Hispanic station audience size, rankings and TSL. No matter how precise the tool, if the mechanics behind the tool are not sound, it will not accurately reflect the Latino audience. Latinos in the U.S. are not appropriately represented in the PPM sample by age breakout, country of origin or Hispanic dominance in the home, which is yielding faulty and inadequate results for our marketplace."
The specific allegations made by the AHAA PPM Council ... are not supported by the information Arbitron presented ... in our meeting of August 18th.
The AHAA PPM Council wants a much higher in-tab rate than the ARBITRON benchmark of 60%. "The mechanics behind the instrument are broken," SÁNCHEZ asserted. "While we anticipated a decline in the numbers just like in the transition to electronic measurement in television, the drastic changes and enormous discrepancies have highlighted the doubt that has long existed about the validity of the Arbitron methodology.”
Keep Diary Service?
The AHAA PPM Council also recommended that ARBITRON maintain diary service alongside PPM to make the transition less rocky, but they allege that ARBITRON won't consider it. "The implementation of PPM using the current sampling methodology could have dire consequences for the Hispanic radio broadcast and advertising industries," AHAA Chairman JOSÉ LOPEZ-VARELA stated. "We are the stewards of our clients’ money, entrusted with getting their message to consumers and putting dollars in the right place at the right time to communicate effectively with their target audience. Without the appropriate tools in place -- accurately reflective of the Latino marketplace -- we are unable to deliver. The declines we've seen in the PPM test markets are the direct result of unsound sampling methodology and these severe discrepancies will have a devastating impact on our industry. ARBITRON doesn't seem to grasp the gravity of our concern with the PPM sampling methodology."
ARBITRON is providing more information to the AHAA so its members would better understand the differences and similarities between PPM and diary methodologies, but that doesn't seem to have resolved the sampling issues the AHAA has raised. "We just have a more precise tool burdened with all of the same problems," SÁNCHEZ said. "The dialogue and conversation between ARBITRON and the AHAA PPM Council will continue as we work toward resolution that will benefit everyone."
Arbitron: Hispanic Data Is Good To Go
In its reponse, ARBITRON released a statement that directly disputed the AHAA's charges, yet offered room for further discission of the disagreements:
"ARBITRON appreciates the opportunity to meet with Spanish-language broadcasters and Hispanic advertising agencies and to work together in a collaborative and supportive manner. The specific allegations made by the AHAA PPM Council in its press release of AUGUST 21st, 2008 ... are not supported by the information ARBITRON presented to the AHAA committee in our meeting of AUGUST 18th.
Over the past months, we have regularly provided members of AHAA with an in-depth review of our panel performance across each Hispanic market. These sample metrics demonstrate that our PPM panels appropriately represent Hispanics and Spanish-Dominant Hispanics. In fact, PPM panels are more representative of Hispanics than diary samples on many comparable metrics.
The proportionate sample goals for Hispanics and Spanish-Dominant Hispanics in our PPM services are larger than those of local market television meter services. In HOUSTON, NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES, RIVERSIDE, CHICAGO, SAN FRANCISCO and SAN JOSE, we are 24% above sample goal for Hispanics and 31% above goal for Spanish-dominant Hispanics in the JULY PPM survey month.
Among 18-34 year-olds, PPM samples do a very good job of representing Hispanics. In HOUSTON, NEW YORK, RIVERSIDE, CHICAGO, SAN FRANCISCO and SAN JOSE, the ARBITRON PPM panels are above sample goal for Hispanic 18-34 year olds. In MIDDLESEX and LOS ANGELES, we are at 99% and 95% of goal for Hispanic 18-34 year-olds respectively, a solid performance.
Regarding Country of Origin, ARBITRON does not collect information about the Country of Origin of Hispanics in the PPM service or in the diary service. Since no one knows what the composition of our PPM sample is by Country of Origin, there can be no factual basis for any claim regarding this metric.
"We cannot understand how the committee has arrived at many of its conclusions in the face of this information. If AHAA has specific information about our PPM samples that we have not yet seen, we will be more than willing to review it.
"We remain committed to working together with Spanish-language broadcasters and Hispanic agencies in a collaborative and supportive manner, because we know that Spanish-language radio is an effective and valuable medium for reaching Hispanic consumers and we appreciate the role it plays in the Hispanic community."